Anarchy, Napster, Copyright, Culture
I’m reading The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan. I find the book to be entertaining, uncomfortable, insightful, and challenging. This is great. He asks to to wrap our brains around several interesting ideas including anarchy and oligarchy as both sociopolitical and info-space concepts, cynicism in the popular, negative sense vs. cynicism as a, well… still trying to understand that. The discussion of Napster and copyright issues are refreshing and are much more interesting than I-want-my-MP3-the-RIAA-sucks. I am working to understand his take on the effects that strong copyright protection, and/or enforcement of friction-enhancing technologies on digital information have on culture. I read his comments about the analog-hole bill (the bill proposes a legal means of limiting the conversion of analog music and video to digital files) the same day I saw a discussion posted at Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow. Also refreshing and enlightening is his discussion of the US vs. the world with regard to cultural policy vs. economic policy – “the flavor of the culture being sold does not seem to matter to the U.S. government, as long as it’s being sold – not lent, borrowed, copied, or shared.” Fascinating stuff, fascinating times.